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Pain and Suffering Damages in Idaho

Known for much more than just potatoes, Idaho is home to Hell's Canyon (deeper than the Grand Canyon), Shoshone Falls (taller than Niagara Falls), and the largest man-made geyser. With all that rustic beauty, in addition to daily life, accidents happen. Like other states, Idaho treats "pain and suffering" as a legal term for both the physical and emotional distress caused by a physical injury. If you've been injured in this state, you'll want know how courts deal with pain and suffering damages in Idaho.

Below is a table showing key aspects of Idaho's pain and suffering damages, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.

Statute of Limitations
  • 2 years for personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability (Sec's. 5-219 & 6-1403(3));
  • 180 days to file notice of claim against state or local governments (Sec's. 6-905, 906)
Limits on Damages
  • $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, adjusted annually for inflation ($342,030.36 in 2016) (Sec. 6-1603);
  • $500,000 cap on most claims against governement entities (Sec. 6-926)
Other Limits Comparative negligence rule may prohibit or reduce recovery of any damages (Sec. 6-801)

Different Types of Damages

There are generally two types of damages to consider after an injury: economic (or "special") and non-economic (or "general"). Economic damages are the objective, out-of-pocket expenses of an injury, like lost wages, while non-economic damages are the more subjective, non-monetary costs of an accident, including pain and suffering (for example: depression, insomnia, and physical pain).

The Difficulty of Measuring Pain and Suffering

Damages for pain and suffering are difficult to measure because the experience of pain and suffering is so subjective, and two people with the same injury may have very different consequences based on their particular situations. Courts often give juries little guidance for deciding how much to award the injured, although attorneys and juries sometimes use a number of factors to assign value to these types of damages.

Factors courts often consider in determining the amount of pain and suffering damages include:

  • The nature of the injuries
  • Any physical and mental pain and suffering, past and future
  • Disfigurement caused by the injuries
  • Impairment of ability to perform usual activities
  • Aggravation to any preexisting conditions

To arrive at a dollar value for pain and suffering, some attorneys also use a "multiplier method" where the attorney multiplies the economic damages by a certain number, usually between one and five. For example, if the injured person suffered $100,000 in lost wages, an attorney might argue that the plaintiff should be awarded three times that amount ($300,000) for pain and suffering.

Limits on Damages

Idaho joins a number of other states who impose their own limits on these types of awards. Idaho caps damages for pain at suffering at $250,000 (adjusted annually for inflation), except in certain cases such as willful or reckless misconduct. Furthermore, the state's "modified comparative negligence" rule bars any recovery if the plaintiff was 50% or more responsible for causing the injury. Where recovery isn't barred, any damages awarded are reduced in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff.

Discuss Pain and Suffering Damages with an Idaho Attorney

Calculating damages for pain and suffering is inherently difficult because the circumstances of each case are so unique. Additionally, Idaho's comparative negligence rule could prevent or reduce your compensation if you're found to be partially at fault. Consequently, it's vital to have both good documentation and effective representation for these types of claims. Discuss these issues with an Idaho personal injury attorney for a better understanding of how they can impact your case.

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